“The curtain of the Temple was torn”

Good Friday.  “Good”? A day in history known for the crucifixion of Jesus, a terrible death mechanism the Romans created to inflict torture and pain. Then why should this day be labelled as “Good Friday”? We read in the Gospels how Jesus was betrayed, mocked, shamed, beaten, crucified and died. Yet we call this day Good Friday.

Easter to the Christian faith, is a very important event. It is what the foundations of Christianity are based on. So to others they may not see the good in Good Friday but to those who believe in death and resurrection of Christ, the day his body laid on the cross limp was the day mankind was reconnected back to God, signified by the tear of the temple curtain.

Matthew 27:50-51

mathew 27

What is the Temple Curtain?

[I would love to go in more detail about the temple and its significance and relevance to Jesus, but there would be so much to say, hopefully in a future blog post I can do this.]

imagesThe Temple had 3 main parts, the courts, The Holy Place and the Holy of Holies (the Most Holy Place)  separated by a veil (or sometimes called curtain) where only the High Priest could enter once a year to atone for the sins of the nation through animal sacrifices. To atone means to make amendment for an offence.

The Holiest of Holy, separated by a curtain represented how sin placed a barrier between mankind and God as we were too unclean for the Most Holy. Even when High Priests entered once a year it was with careful and solemn preparations whilst the people in silence awaited his return, their hearts in prayer for the divine blessing. God seemed so distant for He is so Holy and we may look at ourselves in our wrongdoings, dishonest hearts and sin and feel so separate from Him.

But thank God it doesn’t end there! The curtain tore top to bottom! The curtain was not a light material but reportedly 60 feet high and 4 inches thick, adding to the significance of this event. It tore. Top. To. Bottom. The barrier between mankind and God was removed. Jesus’ sacrifice reunited us back to God, no longer separated by sin. All people now free to approach God because Christ, our High Priest, made the purest of sacrifice.

I love this so much because it shows the dedication God has to want to be with us. The truth is if we decided to turn our backs on God and deny ourselves this privilege of free access to Him, God doesn’t decrease in value, or weaken, it’s only ourselves we harm. Instead God’s endless mercy is magnified by giving us free access through Jesus.

Psalm 16 is a wonderful passage concerning how David found the secret of contentment in difficult times.Psalm 16:11

psalm 16

David understood that his life, both now and eternally was better with God than separate. David had confidence that in God’s presence he benefited from fullness of joy and given the highest and best pleasures. This is the only reality that can satisfy us completely and forever, above shallow entertainments and excitement that the world can offer.

So what should we do?

Hebrews 10:19-22 (NIV)

hebrews 10

Yes! Let us Draw near to God. Let us enter the Most Holy Place with confidence. I sometimes struggle with drawing near to God because all I have to do is look at me and see my brokenness in sin, crying out “I am a sinner how can I be worthy to be in the presence of the Most Holy. Stained in crimson red how I can even touch the hem of Yourisaiah 1 18 white garment”. A cry I’m sure many would have cried out, of a sense of unworthiness and shame. But the passage tells us to enter with confidence because we are cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus. The Blood of Christ has covered our sins and removed all guilt and shame so we can rest at peace and draw near to God.

james 4

James 4:7-8 Drawing Near to God is not just the outward/ physical action where in James we are asked to wash our hands. But it’s also an inward action to purify our hearts, an invisible

act. It’s our hearts that directs us into the presence of God. We are called out for being “double-minded” saying we are divided between God and the world. Instead we are told to Resist the devil and come near to God. We cannot be in both sin and Glory but move from sin to glory.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. And he will draw near to you. All we need to do is take that step to God and he comes running towards us. What does Drawing near to God look like to you? It may be an outward action of spending more time with him prayer and studying the bible. Or an inward action of forgiving yourself, forgiving others, opening your heart to His will. Have a moment to reflect on how you can draw near to God starting today.

good friday prayer

MY ANCHOR IS SECURE

heb-6-13-20

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure”

Hope, a word we use in everyday language to express wishful thinking [“I hope it doesn’t rain today” “I hope it all goes well”] but here “hope” is not used to express a fulfilment of desire but rather a CONFIDENT EXPECTATION.

In this passage in Hebrews we see reference to the story of Abraham where God promised him and his wife Sarah a Son (Gen 17:16). God made an oath to them in His own name to show that both Him and His promises are unchanging and trustworthy. Because of the unchanging truth the Christian hope is firm and secure in God, giving us a confident assurance.

ship-anchor

Sailors have a confident assurance that the anchor will hold the ship, in other words they have hope that the anchor will hold the ship. A ship will drift whether in rough or calm waters and the anchor stops this. Likewise our soul can naturally drift due to fear and torment or being too content and comfortable this is because our soul is largely influenced by our emotions and situations around us. But when we are securely anchored in God’s unchanging and trustworthy word we find stability in Him even in bad situations.

anchor-tomb

In the 1st century many Christians had an anchor with a message of hope scripted on their tombs. For early Christian the anchor symbol represented hope during a time of persecution in anticipation of heaven and eternal life promised by Jesus. We hold this same promise today as Christians

Hope in Christ is a firm confidence because of who He is and what He has done. Christ has already fulfilled the greatest promise of dying in our place, resurrecting from the dead and going ahead into heaven, our anchor is secured because of His love. Nothing on earth should dislodge our hope in Him and His promises given to us through his word. We as people tend to put our hope in wealth, possessions and relationships even success – things that we earn to prosper in but can only give us temporary comfort, not lasting. The promise of Christ is an eternal comfort. This living hope is alive because our hope is not placed on dead works but rather Christ who is alive. 1 Peter 1:3

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Jesus both strong and caring is our anchor giving us hope through everything that we do, as we look to the promise of reconciliation with God. Jesus our “forerunner” who went before us to prepare the way, has already fulfilled the promises and is now “Sat at the right hand of God”.

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To be sat is to show a completion in his restoration work, giving us encouragement, assurance and confidence in the Christian hope of:

  • Salvation

Romans 10:9-10  If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

  • Grace

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

  • Strength over temptation

1 Corinthians 10:13 And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

  • Forgiveness

 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

  • Victory over sin and death

1 Corinthians 15:57-58 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

It is easy to drift in the sea of life when we are influenced so much by our emotions and situations happening around us but when we focus on the word God we are found secure and firm.

rom-4-18  

 Abraham was not focusing on he was in his old age or the fact that Sarah was past child bearing age; instead he focused on God’s word which was fulfilled.

By focusing on God’s word  it helps us to trust God as we continually see His love and Him fulfilling His promises throughout the bible (Abraham, the Israelites, Coming of Jesus just to say a few).

And that brings me to the reason for this blog! A place where you can read my studies of the word, like this post. I believe by looking into the word of God we are able to secure our hope in God because we learn more about who He is, who we are in Him and encouragement throughout this Christian journey.